The stigma around mental health is undeniable. Even though the discourse around mental health is so much more widespread nowadays, there are still many communities and minorities that are being negatively impacted by this stigma. The LGBTQ+ community is one of them.
At MMW, we believe the way forward in shattering the stigma around mental health is through activism. And no activism is too small! So this month we reached out to our web of volunteers and asked what they do, in their power, to break the stigma and normalize the conversation around mental health, as a result, become better allies and supporters of LGBTQ+ folks as well as other underserved communities.
Read their inspiring ways of mental health activism below to take action during this Pride Month!
"I believe the best way to de-stigmatize mental health is by incorporating it into everyday conversations. For me personally, this means that I do my best to be ruthlessly honest about my mental state, whether it involves off days, stress, sadness or excitement, love, and passion. Life is a rollercoaster, and by being honest about it we give everyone better opportunities to have honest and meaningful interactions with each other."
“I try to create space for people to express their struggles and underline to people that expressing how they feel is not perceived as an inconvenience.”
"Current parental generation in India is the generation of mental trauma as they have been through the most treacherous times of poverty, war, and plagues. Keeping this in mind, I try to shed a positive light on mental health in conversations within my family. I try to talk to them if they have been feeling overwhelmed. I also try to encourage them on different breathing techniques to help with their troubled state of mind."
"Establishing a bias-free and neutral language around mental health is key to destigmatizing it. I use my voice by expressing vulnerability and showing transparency around my mental health challenges. In my experience, this shows others that it is safe to do the same, at least around me and they will not be judged. Additionally, the volunteer work I do at MMW with the goal of creating a world where mental wellbeing is valued, promoted, and encouraged is the most fulfilling form of activism."
"One thing I do to normalize mental health with my friends is that I encourage them to speak about what they might be going through and ensure that I'm always available to vent to and listen. I also make sure to give words of encouragement whenever my friends have upcoming nerve-wracking events like interviews, presentations, and similar events like that to make sure they know they are good enough."
“I take conscious breaks when I feel overwhelmed at work. Whether it is for a day or two, I completely switch off from work, not reply to work emails or messages. I return back to work feeling motivated and refreshed. Prioritizing myself is the best form of activism. It shows others it is doable and inspired them to take action as well.”
"As a therapist, one way I break the stigma around mental health is to actively mention how I seek therapy too. When people learn therapists have their own therapists, it brings out the point that we're all amenable to break. And we don't have to be broken to heal. And that's alright."
“I talk openly about mental health (including my own!), educate myself, and share some of the learnings from therapy, psychology books, and self-development with my community. I talk about boundaries, give visibility to minorities or speak up when media is contributing to the stigmatization of mental health. I think using our digital social profiles, workspaces, and social environments for that becomes a remarkable way to use our voices to educate about mental health!”
"I never take someone’s feelings, workload, or expectations for granted. At home, I have switched the routinary 'how are you doing?' for 'how are you feeling?' A small word change but it allowed my family and friends to be more open! Likewise, at work, I always check in on how my colleagues are doing with their tasks and workload. Trying to create a safe space for the people around me has helped me to be more open and sincere about my mental health and prioritize it."
“Being open and conscious of the differences between each other is vital when I think about mental health. Thus, every Sunday when I am having lunch with my family, I bring to the table different topics so that we can rethink how we see ourselves and listen to our different perspectives about life.”